Published: June 11, 2020

Dear graduate students,

I am deeply saddened by the killing of George Floyd and other members of Black communities across the nation. My heart goes out to those affected by these senseless acts of violence and to those impacted by systemic and long-standing racism.

I believe that education has always been one of the world’s great equalizers; and, as a community of scholars, artists and researchers, it is our duty to provide expanded opportunities to the Black community and other communities of color in order to build a more just and equitable society. 

Since starting my tenure as the dean of the Graduate School, I’ve grappled with how we can build a more diverse graduate student body, acknowledging that the experiences and needs of Black and other students of color have not sufficiently informed how we provide graduate education.

The emotional turmoil and inequities laid bare during these past few weeks create an urgency for the Graduate School to address issues of access and inequality on campus and foster new pathways to graduate education for underrepresented students.

To do this, the Graduate School will announce a new strategy for the recruitment of underrepresented students by the start of the fall semester. By reaching out to these undergraduate students at institutions that have not traditionally been launching pads into graduate school, we will redefine and greatly expand the pipeline of Black students and other students of color into graduate programs on the CU Boulder campus. 

Additionally, the Graduate School will earmark 30% of the graduate recruitment budget for departments that have developed innovative and meaningful plans to increase the diversity of their graduate cohorts. We will also double the amount of diversity scholarships for incoming students for fall 2021 admissions and beyond.  

The best way for us to end the injustice of racism and build a more cohesive and diverse community is by listening, learning and responding to our students.

Listening: We will listen with open minds and hearts to the observations, suggestions and feedback of our Black students and community members. 

We commend the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) for the open letter they published reaffirming their support for our Black graduate students and other students of color. UGGS is committed to “working tirelessly to ensure all students feel safe, welcome, and valued,” and we consider UGGS to be a critical partner with the Graduate School in this endeavor. 

If you have stories to share, please contact In addition, if you have feedback or suggestions on how the Graduate School can improve our resources and professional development offerings, please contact our director of graduate community and professional development, Leslie-Ellen Blood, at

Learning: We dedicate ourselves to elevating the voices of our Black students, staff and faculty members, and our other campus communities of color. As well, we commit to educating ourselves regarding the experiences and the continuing injustices they have suffered both through systemic racism and individual acts of discrimination.

Responding: Your stories, experiences and suggestions will inform the ways in which the Graduate School reimagines and recreates our support services and programs so that they more fully serve the needs of all of our students. 

I know that we have much work to do before our graduate student body is truly reflective of the rich diversity of our society. Removing barriers to equal access and opportunities must be a sustained effort as we strive to achieve that goal. It is our ongoing commitment to all of you that we will continue to listen, learn and respond as we move forward together.


E. Scott Adler
Dean of the Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs